Sunday, May 28, 2017

Speculative fiction on DVD and Blu-Ray at the 2017 Saturn Awards

I thought I had finished blogging about the Saturn Awards with 'Supergirl' vs. 'The Flash' at the Saturn Awards plus television nomination leftovers.  Then I started voting and found out that I was not only eligible to cast ballots for the movie and television awards, but also the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of last year.  I hadn't written about those, since I didn't expect to vote for them.  Surprise!

So for the Sunday entertainment feature, I present the nominees from the Saturn Awards along with my thoughts about which ones I'm voting for and which I think will win.
Best DVD / BD Release:

Dog Eat Dog
The Girl
The Lobster
The Man Who Knew Infinity
The Wailing
Tales of Halloween
I've been wishing "The Lobster" "good luck, you'll need it" since last December and it's the movie I know best among the nominees, so I'm voting for it.  As for which will win, I have no idea.
Best DVD / BD Special Edition Release:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition
The Hills Have Eyes Limited Edition
The Iron Giant Signature Edition
Phantasm Remastered
Raising Cain
Mad Max: Fury Road Black and Chrome Edition
I get to vote for "Mad Max: Fury Road" again?  O.K, I will!  That doesn't mean it will win.  This electorate might prefer "Phantasm Remastered."
Best Classic Film Release on DVD /  BD:

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken
The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane
Gog 3D
It Came From Outer Space
Donovan's Brain
Time After Time
My choice is "Time After Time," but I expect "It Came From Outer Space" would be more likely to win.
Best Television Release on DVD / BD:

Banshee: The Final Season
Hannibal: The Complete Series Collection
Mr. Robot: Season 2.0
Salem's Lot
Versailles: Season One
Star Trek: The Animated Series
The image I used to illustrate this post gave my vote away; my choice is "Star Trek: The Animated Series."  If that hadn't been nominated, I might have voted for "Mr. Robot," but I already voted for the show in Best Action/Thriller TV Series, so "Star Trek" deserves my love.  It's the only vote for the franchise I'm casting as I voted for "Suicide Squad" instead of "Star Trek Beyond" in Best Make-up.*  Will it win?  Maybe, but "Hannibal" or "Salem's Lot" would be my choices for the Saturn Electorate.
Best Collection on DVD / BD:

Buster Keaton Shorts Collection 1917-23
Frankenstein: Complete Legacy Collection
Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast
Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection
Pioneers of African American Cinema
The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection
Which one of these would I actually watch?  Easy, the Marx Brothers.  I don't think it will beat either Frankenstein or The Wolf Man, but I don't care; I'm not voting for them.

No post about the Saturn Awards would be complete without a link to the application to vote.
Speaking of "this electorate," my readers and I have a chance to change its composition.  Click here to apply for an affiliate membership.  At $25, one can vote for the best films and television shows.  At $40, one can vote for all categories.  I'm paying $40.  I hope my readers do, too.
Hurry up; voting closes on the 30th!

Previous posts about the 2017 Saturn Awards:
*I also changed my vote for Special Visual Effects from "The Jungle Book" to "Doctor Strange."  The first may be more technically proficient, but the latter had more entertainment value.  I also changed my vote from either "The Conjuring 2" or "Don't Breathe" to "Train to Busan."  The Korean zombie film had the highest rating on IMDB of all the nominees.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Death of Bond songwriter Chris Cornell inspires dark tourism in Detroit

The loss of Roger Moore earlier this week was not the only recent death related to James Bond.  The week before, WXYZ reported "Casino Royale" singer/songwriter Chris Cornell died in Detroit.

That wasn't the end of the story.  This week, WXYZ reported there were already People trying to book hotel room where Chris Cornell died.

I'm not surprised, both as an expatriate Angelino and a current Detroiter.  As the former, I know that nothing enshrines a celebrity like a tragic death.  As for the latter, I've learned that Detroit has taste for the macabre.  Also, I'm with Carolyn Clifford; there is a name for everything, and "dark tourism" belongs right up there with ruin porn as a theme for Detroit tourism.  Speaking of which, Kim Russell did a good job of listing famous deaths in Detroit, especially that of Harry Houdini.  What she didn't mention about Houdini was that he died on Halloween.  That's the kind of spooky detail one can't make up.

I'm leaving my readers with Cornell's claim to Bond fame, "You Know My Name," Cornell's theme song for "Casino Royale."


Friday, May 26, 2017

Another 'Pirates of the Caribbean' alignment chart plus Hans Zimmer and Tina Guo in concert


In a footnote to 'Outlander' alignment chart, I observed that "'Pirates of the Caribbean' alignment chart has been in the top ten all week with 226 page views and counting."  It hit a maximum of 230 page views later that day.  That was more than a week ago, and the post is still in the weekly top ten, earning page views every day.  I credit today's opening of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" for this surge of interest in the post.  Since my readers want to see a "Pirates of the Caribbean" alignment chart, I'm giving them another one, which is now my second favorite.*

Of course, no alignment chart post of mine would be complete without a fan cover or live performance of the series or movie theme song, so here is Hans Zimmer - Pirates - Live at Coachella 2017 Sunday, April 16th featuring Tina Guo on the electric cello.

I plan to post another video starring Guo next week for the opening of the "Wonder Woman" movie, as she is the soloist responsible for the unique sound of "I Thought She Was With You" AKA the Wonder Woman movie theme.  Stay tuned.

*Reader interest convinced me to post this instead of something about Detroit's continuing loss of population or the Atlantic hurricane season.  I'm still in an "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Vox explains how to talk to conservatives about renewable energy

Just yesterday, I showed my students the video that formed the core of Seeker/DNews on when and why environmentalism became a partisan issue.  As far as I can tell, it made the point I wanted, that the environment had once been a bipartisan issue and could be again.  Last month, Vox posted a video on a related theme, I’m a Tea Party conservative. Here’s how to win over Republicans on renewable energy.

Activist Debbie Dooley has some choice words for individuals who believe that fossil fuels have no impact on the environment. “If you think fossil fuel is not damaging the environment,” she says, “pull your car in a garage, start up your engine, and inhale the exhaust fumes for a few minutes and see what happens.”

You could be forgiven for suspecting that Dooley might be a Democrat. According to a Gallup poll conducted last year, 85 percent of Democrats believe humans are contributing to increases in global temperature. But she’s not. Dooley is a conservative, gun-owning Trump supporter who also happens to be a co-founder of the Tea Party.

Dooley runs Conservatives for Energy Freedom, where she advocates for the expansion of renewable energy and for cuts to government regulations she believes hinder that growth. Through her efforts, she has even won over unlikely allies such as Al Gore.

The problem, according to Dooley, when speaking of her fellow conservatives, is that “they've been brainwashed for decades into believing we're not damaging the environment.” As a result, Dooley speaks with her fellow conservatives about renewable energy in a political language conservatives respect, using phrases like energy freedom, energy choice, and national security.

According to Dooley, when speaking to conservatives in these terms, “you have a receptive audience and they will listen to you. If you lead off with climate change, they're not going to pay a bit of attention to anything else you say.”
I'm perfectly amenable to using "energy freedom, energy choice, and national security" as well as competition and innovation as selling points for renewable energy.  I would have been using those long before I had ever heard about climate change (but not the greenhouse effect; I heard about that in the late 1960s).

That's not the only appearance of Dooley in a Vox video about climate and the environment.  She appears about four and one-half minutes into Scientists really aren’t the best champions of climate science, which was posted yesterday.

Facts and data alone won’t inspire people to take action in the fight against global warming. So what will?
This isn't just a way to talk to conservatives, but to anyone who isn't convinced by science.  This makes the advice in this video useful to all kinds of environmental advocates.  Handy!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

R.I.P. Roger Moore

Almost five years ago, I explained why I blog about James Bond.
First, this blog is about science fiction as much as it is about collapse.  In that vein, the James Bond movies, even more so than the books, qualify, as they are really science fiction films set 20 minutes into the future.  As science fiction, the films both celebrate the latest technology and explore in a very escapist fashion a current technological, scientific, or even environmental issue that is a source of societal anxiety.  Keeping that ambivalence in mind while watching a Bond film makes it a more intellectually interesting experience, at least for me.  See if it works for you, too.

Second, Bond has averted the near total extinction of humanity at least twice, as well as defused other situations that could have resulted in World War III several other times.  Because of these 'good deeds,' he qualifies as an honorary Crazy Eddie.  That alone makes the films worthy of discussion.
Both of those times that Bond saved humanity happened when Roger Moore played the role, first in "The Spy Who Loved Me" and again in "Moonraker," the two films in the franchise that are most obviously science fiction and therefore two of my favorite Bond outings.  Thus it is with sadness that I pass along CNN's James Bond actor Roger Moore dies.

Roger Moore, who gained worldwide stardom playing James Bond in seven installments of the franchise, died at the age of 89. CNN's Sara Sidner looks back at his life and career.
Speaking of Moore's wit and smooth delivery, CNN shared some of Roger Moore's best James Bond one-liners.

Sir Roger Moore portrayed the character of James Bond in seven "007" films with a biting wit all his own.
Bond lives on, but his funniest actor has passed.  R.I.P.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Serious and silly 'Star Trek' previews -- 'Discovery' and 'The Orville'

Even though I said farewell to The Palace of Auburn Hills yesterday, I'm still in an "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood.  I guess posting a week's worth of entertainment entries does that to me.  Since I'm still in the mood to amuse myself and my readers, I'm sharing two previews about "Star Trek."  The first is Star Trek: Discovery - First Look Trailer.

Before Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise there was Discovery. Now, one of the most iconic and influential global franchises returns to television with Star Trek: Discovery. The CBS All Access Original Series arrives this Fall.
The preview looks great and the actress who played Sasha from "The Walking Dead" looks even better than she did in that role or the one before, when she played one of Peter Pan's henchmen in "Once Upon a Time."  I'm glad to see her moving up in the world.

That was the serious Trek preview.  Now the silly: THE ORVILLE Official Trailer (2017) Star Trek Spoof, Seth MacFarlane Comedy Drama Series HD.

The Star Trek Discovery series is still a few months out before airing on CBS. But until then, we’ve got what looks like the next best thing: Seth MacFarlane’s spoof of the franchise, The Orville.
Welcome to what "Galaxy Quest" would be as a real series in the 21st Century.  Consider that a compliment.

I'm looking forward to both shows.  I'm sure I'll be blogging about them when they air.  In the meantime, have some 'Star Trek' themed drinks for the show's 50th anniversary, which is technically still ongoing.  Live long and prosper!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Farewell to The Palace of Auburn Hills

"Stay tuned for a post bidding farewell to the venue of yesterday's commencement, as it was the last one held there."  So I concluded 'Stranger Things' alignment charts, itself a call back to my writing "I'll have something to say about the venue on Monday, as it will almost certainly be the last commencement held there" as part of the concluding paragraph of Vox on 'Pomp and Circumstance'.  After two consecutive days of teasing my readers, it's time for me to deliver.

Since I like video, I'll let WXYZ report what's happening in last month's Pistons say goodbye to the Palace.

Yes, the Pistons will join the Red Wings in their new arena in Foxtown.  That's great news for downtown and midtown Detroit, bringing people and their money into the city.  For the property where The Palace now stands, the future is less certain.  WXYZ speculates about that in What's next for The Palace of Auburn Hills?

Whatever happens with the property, last Saturday's event will probably be the last time I ever visit the arena.  I'll miss it.  I said as much after the luncheon before the ceremony.  I also went back onto the floor to look up at the seats one last time after it was all over.  I hope the college finds as good a venue for next year's commencement.

For my readers who want to explore why the Pistons left The Palace for Foxtown, I suggest they read the Detroit Free Press's How miscalculation, market trends doomed Palace of Auburn Hills.  The article explains how suburbia is declining, not from Peak Oil, but from changes in tastes of the rising generation.  As for The Palace, it joins Northland Mall and the Silverdome as victims of the decreasing viability of suburbia in competition with walkable downtown neighborhoods and Internet commerce.  May they all find new and better uses when they are redeveloped.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

'Stranger Things' alignment charts

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Yesterday, I told my readers to "stay tuned for 'another alignment chart for another series nominated at the Saturn Awards on Sunday,' as I wrote about in yesterday's 'Outlander' alignment chart.  Any guesses as to what the series might be?  Hint:  I posted about it this month but haven't posted an alignment chart for it before.  Write your answers in the comments!"  No one ventured a guess.  As my readers can tell, the answer is "Stranger Things," which is nominated for three Saturn Awards, Best New Media Television Series, Best Younger Actor on TV for Millie Bobby Brown, and Best Actress on a Television Series for Winona Ryder.

The chart above is my favorite, but it's not the only one.   The chart below works almost as well and makes a good Dungeons and Dragons joke to boot.

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There's also a partial chart for the top row with just the younger actors, which is good for a laugh.

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No alignment chart post of mine would be complete without a fan or live cover or the theme song, so I present a "Stranger Things" Cello Medley by Nicholas Yee.

Medley of themes from the "Stranger Things" series, originally by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein. Featuring my good friends Adam Caulfield and Katherine Pernal!

Like many others, I was captivated by the "Stranger Things" series when it came out earlier this year and fell in love with its exciting storytelling, engrossing set design and unique blend of creepiness, nostalgia and heartwarming moments. The music adds such richness to the show and I wanted to showcase its strength and versatility in this medley. Enjoy!
That's it for this week's Entertainment Sunday.  Stay tuned for a post bidding farewell to the venue of yesterday's commencement, as it was the last one held there.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Vox on 'Pomp and Circumstance'

I opened last year's Bill Maher on commencements, past and future with both a reminiscence and a forecast.
A week ago today, I attended my college's Commencement ceremony, where I watched my students from the past few years get their degrees.  It was a wonderful experience, including the addresses by the student speaker and the former CEO of Garden Fresh.  I'll be back for next year's ceremony.
Commencement is today.  As promised, I'm going.  To celebrate, I'm sharing Vox's video Why every American graduation plays the same song.

We're all familiar with Pomp & Circumstance, the graduation song that's the official soundtrack of almost every commencement. But how did it get so big? In this episode of Vox's Almanac, Phil Edwards investigates and finds diamonds, war, and Dame Clara Butt.
Yes, I'll be hearing this march a lot today.  It's better than playing it, which I did for three years in high school.

I'll have something to say about the venue on Monday, as it will almost certainly be the last commencement held there.  In the meantime, stay tuned for "another alignment chart for another series nominated at the Saturn Awards on Sunday," as I wrote about in yesterday's 'Outlander' alignment chart.  Any guesses as to what the series might be?  Hint:  I posted about it this month but haven't posted an alignment chart for it before.  Write your answers in the comments!

Friday, May 19, 2017

'Outlander' alignment chart

While looking for the image to illustrate 'Game of Thrones' vs. 'Outlander' at the Saturn Awards, I stumbled across the following alignment chart for the series.  Since my readers like them and I haven't posted a new set of ones since Alignment charts for the 50th anniversary of 'Star Trek', I'm sharing it with my readers.*


Of course, no alignment chart post of mine would be complete without a fan cover or live performance of the series or movie theme song, so here is The Skye Boat Song - Outlander Soundtrack Cover - Piano & Violin by Mathilde Quignon and Valentin Prud'homme.

Piano and violin cover of "The Skye Boat Song" from the tv series "Outlander".
I'll have something a little more serious for tomorrow, followed by another alignment chart for another series nominated at the Saturn Awards on Sunday.  Maybe by Monday I'll finally get out of my "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood.

*'Pirates of the Caribbean' alignment chart has been in the top ten all week with 226 page views and counting.